In the last fifty years, we have been witnesses of dramatic changes in all segments of biomedical sciences, especially in nursing. The importance of better education of all health professionals has increased due to the development of health care, ageing population, increasing number of chronic disease, introduction of new technologies, and costly procedures. Nowadays, it has become generally accepted that a nurse must have a bachelor’s university degree in order to perform the nursing practice successfully. In the past, the nurse’s skills were very simple and few, such as: setting the bed, changing the position of the patient, cleaning hospital rooms and furniture and the application of enemas. Today, when describing nurse’s competences we come upon numerous complex skills such as clinical reasoning, application of evidence-based practices, interdisciplinary collaboration and team work, promotion of health and participation in the management of chronic diseases such as education of patients with diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, terminal illness care, and complex skills such as open heart massage during cardiopulmonary surgery.
The result of the Bologna process is the standardization of higher education in the European Union which will provide increased mobility and employment of workers, including nurses. Acceptance of the Bologna Declaration resulted in establishment of university health studies. University health studies enable the establishment of a system of continuous education, renewal and adoption of most recent knowledge, as well as continuous monitoring and recognition of health care priorities in the country and the European environment.
The Bologna Declaration brought the so called European model with three basic university education levels: undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate, which created the European Higher Education Zone in 2010, based on three educational cycles bachelor-master-doctor.
The curriculum for the nursing study is based on the following principles:
- Nursing is an independent, clearly defined profession.
- Nurses are not assistants who only help doctors, but well educated professionals with clearly defined areas of responsibility and the medical teams.
- University nursing education is a continuation of secondary school education and it begins at the age of eighteen, after eight years of elementary and four years secondary education.
- Education for registered and fully licensed nurses should take place at university level.
- Nursing education lasts for at least three years, and consists of 4,600 hours of teaching and learning, which correspond to 180 ECTS credits.
- Learning is equally distributed between theoretical and practical teaching, with the necessary individual learning.
- After the final exam and defence of diploma thesis, the student acquires the right to the title of the university bachelor of nursing.